Poetry

Two poems by George Pereny from the first issue of Footwork, published by the Passaic County Community College, also edited by George, who taught English there. Footwork evolved into the Paterson Literary Review under the guidance of Maria Mazziotti Gillan.

Dog Children of the Ghetto

limping as they walk
on paws that bend from hunger

speechless ice-coat beggars
petition with their eyes
outside the greasy diner
they
stretch their nostrils
as they eat the odors of the food you carry in a bag.

the sun smiles on a space of glass-toothed street
where a dog lies
trying to warm himself.

down the street
across a tired river
soars the World Trade Center

***

The Ticking

I’m a timebomb
the memory of our day is ticking inside me–
the way I sped from Clifton to the Bronx
Rt. 46 east 80 east George Washington Bridge Major Deegan north
eighty miles per hour
I could not control it
although I should have
arriving early
waiting for you
in my car
in the sun
in front of your house
the sunlight a shield
for the dark knowledge
that something was wrong.
Kate as soon as you walked out
I knew.

the sweet scared look of innocence I knew
was wrinkled to a frown as you stepped into my car.
we never did talk much
but the silence that was once a healing
was now pressure.
I said let’s eat
you said let’s drive
you were biting your nails
I stopped near the frozen lake
I had to pull it like a tooth
the blood soon flowed
that he had called
and you were afraid someone would be hurt.

a gentle finger calmly flicked the ticking of the bomb in motion
but in the sunlight
along the humming highway green
I could hardly hear the constant little tickings.
we drove to Yonkers
I stopped beneath an aging afternoon
with nothing left to say
I forced a kiss onto your mouth
and it was dry.
you cried your tears
you tore the skin from off your fingers
you said you were not sure
I claimed I really didn’t let you in that far
but heard a louder ticking

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